Review by Shannon Shumaker
Purple’s debut album, (409), is angry, gritty, catchy and most of all, rock-n-roll. It’s hard to come up with just one word to describe this record, however, because it’s nearly impossible to put Purple in a box. On one hand, (409) is a total grungy punk record with raw, screaming vocals and dirty guitar hooks, but the choruses are catchy and melodic (verging on poppy) with quite a bit of youthful angst and wanderlust peppered on top. Vocalist/drummer Hannah Brewer’s ability to transition from dirty screams to beautiful, melodic singing on top of some incredible guitar work and quite possibly some of the best bass tones I’ve heard in a long while is what makes this album incredible musically, but it’s the energy, emotion and youthfulness behind the songs that make (409) memorable.
“Wallflower,” the first track on (409) is the perfect way to introduce yourself to this band. While I wasn’t sure what exactly to expect until the guitar and vocals came in, Purple absolutely blew any doubts I might have had about the album out of the water. The best thing is, on top of being incredibly strong lyrically, “Wallflower” is balanced perfectly. The grungy guitar tone is the first thing that really stands out about the song, but the bass work is absolutely worth noting, considering it’s usually something that is (unfortunately) overlooked in many rock albums. The flawless vocal work by Brewer is simply what ties the track together. Following “Wallflower” is “Double Nickels” which is not only a perfect progression from the first track, but the added vocals by guitarist Taylor Busby are just as strong as Brewer’s and fit Purple’s sound perfectly.
Keeping up with the fact pace on (409) is the album’s third song, “Leche Loco.” The dual vocals on this track mesh well, but it’s the random key and tempo changes in the choruses that really keep you on your toes and shake things up. Following “Leche Loco” is one of the more laid back tracks on (409), “Beach Buddy,” which showcases Purples versatility. “Beach Buddy” is a very poppy track, but it doesn’t sound out of place on this record. Again, the dual vocals are a strong driving force on this song and the resulting vibe is that of laid back summer afternoons on the beach, enjoying a drink with friends. Immediately following “Beach Buddy” is the chaotic track, “Thirteen,” carried heavily by fast drums and Brewer’s wild screaming. And the best part? It fucking works.
After “Thirteen,” (409) winds down a bit. It’s definitely hard to top the energy in the fifth track, so the next few songs tend to sound a little tame compared to the first half of the album, but that’s not to say that they’re boring by any means. (No, it would be a crime to call Purple boring.) Some of the strongest tracks in the second half of the album are the more laid back “Newborn” and the explosive final track, “DMT,” but every track on (409), regardless if it’s one of the dancy summer anthems or a raw punk song, is well balanced. While Brewer’s vocals and drumming are incredible, it’s the three members working together that make this album so strong. These guys are amazing songwriters above everything. They can go from wild, reckless and angry punk tracks, to catchy, danceable summer pop anthems without skipping a beat.
We’re barely a month into 2015, and already, I’m certain that Purple’s (409) is going to be a strong contender for one of my favorite albums of the year. (409) is total party album - it’s catchy, poppy and memorable, but at the same time, it’s raw, gritty and chaotic. It’s fast paced, reckless and wild - something that rock music has been missing lately - and to be honest, it makes me want to break some shit. I think that’s the best way to describe (409). I was hooked on this album from the moment that first chorus hit in “Wallflower,” and Purple absolutely continued to impress me until the final notes of “DMT.” Purple’s sound on this album is timeless and unique, which is bound to set them apart from the pack this year.
Listen to "Wallflower" or "Beach Buddy"